Black Mountain Firetower

Looking for a nice, easy hike not too far from the Capital Region? Look no further! Yesterday Jona and I hiked Black Mountain, a hike not too far from Lake George. At 2,665 ft., Black Mountain is the highest mountain in the Lake George region. Not only is there a firetower at the top (closed to the public), there is a power generating wind turbine! I didn’t realize that until we got up there so it was a nice surprise.

We had a late start and parked at the lot on Pike Brook Road at around 1:30PM. I think this may have been my latest hike start, but it was a short one so we weren’t worried at all.  The first mile or so is on a fire road and then the trail begins to climb gradually.

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We took one short break for water but made it to the summit in 1 hour, 10 minutes! The summit is 2.9 miles from the parking lot.

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There were gorgeous views of Lake George to be seen.

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Wind turbine.

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Solar panels and firetower.

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We stopped for a few minutes to have a snack and enjoy the view then headed down the trail behind the firetower to do the loop back to the car.

The other side of the mountain had some nice lookout points to the other side of Lake George.

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This trail was a lot more interesting, but was a bit overgrown because it is probably a lot less used, except by this guy.

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Eventually we came to a junction to take us to Black Mt. Point (trailhead accessible only by boat), or to Black Mt. Pond. We went to the ponds.

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So pretty! There is a lean-to right on the pond that would make an excellent camping spot! Someone must have just left because there were embers still in the firepit.

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Lovely trail by the pond.

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From here you can almost see the firetower on top of Black Mt, the one on the right. It looks like a tall tree.

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It was a lovely hike and enjoyable walk in the woods.

Black Mountain Loop
Distance 7.1 miles
Elevation 2,667 ft
Elevation gain 1,272 ft
Total time including stops 3 hrs, 41  min
Firetower challenge 6/28

Mountain Biking at Luther Forest

So Jordan is really into mountain biking and he even has a fat bike! The other night I joined him and his friend on a ride after work at Luther Forest in Malta. There are some nice trails here! They are single track and friendly to newbies like myself.

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{These photos are from early May, notice the lack of leaves on the trees!}

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I am borrowing a friend’s old mountain bike (a Specialized) to see if I actually enjoy mountain biking.

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Its official: we are running out of room in our tiny apartment because bikes are taking over.

Anyway, I really liked riding the trails at Luther Forest! There is one loop that was really nice and easy, which was great for a beginner like myself.  But there were also some steep hills and obstacles to ride over. The hardest part about mountain biking for me isn’t physical, but mental. Its hard to get over the fact that your bike will roll over obstacles and not crash into them! I still have a problem with big downhills because I’m afraid of going too fast and crashing or falling down a ravine.

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Overall it was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to go mountain biking again!

Riding to Thacher Park

Saturday I took my road bike out and rode up to Thacher from Schoolhouse Road in Guilderland. I haven’t done that ride in two years! The climb is always a bit intimidating but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting! Love the feeling of seeing that sign when I get to the top.
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Made a quick stop at the Overlook and grabbed a Gatorade from the snack stand.

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I was going to take the same route back down, but after riding out past Thompson’s Lake I was pressed for time. I rode down to Altamont and took Route 20 (Western Ave) back to my car and rode a giant loop.

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There was the longest hill I’ve ever rode down, and quite possibly the scariest, from Old Stage Road to Altamont. I’ll never try that again.

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Total distance 36.5 mi
Time 2 hours, 52 min
Elevation gain 2,015 ft

Cycling Around South Hero Island, Vermont

Last week Jordan and I went on vacation to his family’s camp in South Hero, Vermont on Lake Champlain. The camp is right on the water and we got to enjoy many days sitting by the lake and enjoying some really pretty views.

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We drove into Burlington one night to catch the sunset and go out to dinner.

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It was one of the prettiest I’ve seen!

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We also spent a lot of time road biking! On Tuesday, we rode all around South Hero Island.

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We biked a total of Total of 38.4 mi around the island!
Total moving time:  2:50:30
Elevation gain: 1,050 ft

The views were gorgeous all over the island. Lots of these guys were hanging around.

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On Thursday we went for another ride. This time we rode to the bike ferry about 10 miles from the camp! The ferry took the us and the bikes to the other side of Lake Champlain so we could ride the bike path to Burlington.

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Riding along the Island Line Trail was gorgeous!

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Total distance: 43.1mi
Moving time: 3:30:24

We had such a lovely vacation! It was relaxing and I got to spend some quality time with my favorite guy.

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Hiking Algonquin, Iroquois and Wright Peaks

Another weekend down, more high peaks crossed off the list! Saturday was the perfect day for a hike–the weather was looking fantastic! I was waiting for the perfect day to tackle Algonquin, New York’s second highest mountain, along with Iroquois and Wright.

Jenna and I met at Exit 9 at 5am, got to the Loj around 7:15 and were off by 7:30. It was a quick mile to the Marcy Dam junction, we went right to go to Wright and Algonquin.

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The first few miles are very pleasant!

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Then we started climbing steeply, but we had a really good pace!

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Many sections of the trail are really rocky. Made it tough on on the feet.

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Soon enough we hit the junction for Wright and Algonquin. We decided to hike Wright last on the way out, and headed up the steep “trail” to Algonquin. It was a rock scramble! We got the summit at 10:20, almost three hours after leaving the Loj.

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Expansive views from the summit! There is Lake Placid.

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Algonquin stands at 5115′ -so far its the highest I’ve climbed in the Adirondacks.

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And its my 20th high peak!

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A nice view of Mt Colden and its crazy slides.

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The flowed lands and Lake Colden.

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Looking over to Iroquois, our next stop!

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We chatted with the summit steward on top of Algonquin. She told us to follow the cairns down Algonquin to Boundary Peak, the small nub between Algonquin and Iroquois, and then follow the trail right instead of left. The marked trail pointed left, we needed to go right to get to Iroquois.

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Crossing the bog brides to Iroquois–this part was scratchy, the herd path was so narrow. Got up to Iroquois at 11:30am!

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21/46.

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Looking back at Algonquin. We’d have to go back up there to get back down to Wright. (It looks worse than it is–it was 1.1 miles between the two.)

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Couldn’t ask for a better day to do this hike. We didn’t stay on top of either peak long–maybe 10-15 minutes max. We hung out on Algonquin again for a few, then headed back down. We decided we were definitely in to hike Wright since it was right there. Got to the top at 2:07PM.

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22/46–one more to halfway.

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The views up here were spectacular!

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I wanted to see the B-47 plane crash site, but we couldn’t find it and didn’t want to wander around too much looking because we were getting pretty tired.

We started down and got back the Loj at around 5pm. What a day!

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Algonquin, Iroquois and Wright Peaks – The McIntyre Range
Algonquin elevation: 5115′
Iroquois elevation: 4843′
Wright elevation: 4587′
Total elevation gain: 3,783′
11.4 mi RT from the ADK Loj
Total hike time including stops: 9 hours, 21 minutes

Gear used: Osprey Sirrus Day Pack, 3 L of water in Platypus Big Zip Bladder, EMS zip off hiking shorts, Under Armor tank, Keene Durand hiking boots, Kelty trekking poles

After my next high peak, I’ll be half way done with the 46!